Jessica Driffill started in the fashion business early, tagging along with her mother Sharee Kowalski's sales calls when she was 5 years old. Kowalski ran a costume jewelry wholesale business with Jessica being able to play the ultimate dress-up games with her mom.

Nowadays, Driffill continues to work alongside her mom, with the opening of Evie Apparel and Accessories at 1778 Empire Blvd. in Penfield last year. It's a boutique with accessories as well as fashionable apparel such as wraps and leggings. The mother-daughter team decided to expand their wholesale business into retail and thought the Penfield/Webster corridor would be a perfect spot for it. It brought mom and daughter together, just like the old days.

"It's surprisingly fun,' Driffill, 31, said of working with her mother. "Some people wouldn't do it, but I really enjoy it."

The store is filled with some of their favorite finds. Kowalski and Driffill regularly go to shows all over the country to buy for their store and their wholesale business. The two businesses complement each other, Kowalski said, noting that you have to have many irons in the fire to make a business work.

"These days, you can't just count on people to come into your little shop," Kowalski said, noting the rise of internet shopping.

Evie specializes in helping customers accessorize for the special occasions. Whether it's a bride who needs a clutch and earrings or a teen needing a statement necklace to match a prom dress, Kowalski or Driffill will help with the personal touch.

"I have a passion for what I do," said Kowalski, 55. "I love helping people pick things out."

Because she has been in the business for 26 years, she has relationships with vendors and is able to buy at lower prices, Kowalski said. Most of her jewelry is in the $20 to $30 range, a good price range for a little splurge, she said.

Before she became an entrepreneur, she worked as a secretary, a job Kowalski said just wasn't the right fit for her. With her fashion business, there is something new every day, whether it's meeting new customers or traveling to a new city for a trade show.

Business is building up slowly but surely on the retail side, Kowalski said. They are reaching people via social media and people are stopping in to check out the boutique while shopping nearby in Penfield.

"Little by little, people are finding us," Kowalski said. "When they find us they say, 'I'm telling everyone I know about your store.' "Read more at:unique formal dresses | http://www.marieaustralia.com